Skip to main content

Full text of "Poland Russia and Great Britain 1941-1945"

See other formats

traverse the entire Soviet Union. Moreover no one can pass through
Russia without official permits, which amongst other things entitles him to
obtain food. An escape meant therefore, that the man would die of
hanger. The Polish authorities compiled an additional list of 800 missing
officers, this was handed to Stalin on March i8th31942, by General Anders,
but it also had no result. Apart from the officers brought from the
Grazovets camp, not one man known to be held in those three cainps
appeared. Of the fourteen generals previously enumerated in " Krasnaya
Zviezda " (Red Star) twelve were missing; out of 300 colonels and
lieutenant-colonels, 294 had not returned; and of the remaining number
of officers only 397 men had been traced. From a total of 15,400 officers,
N.C.Os., Polish prisoners~of-war who had been in the custody of the
Russians in those three fatal camps, roughly 15,000 men had disappeared.
The Polish authorities in Moscow and Kuibyshev repeated their appeals
regarding these men. The Minister of Foreign Affairs made numerous
enquiries on their behalf to BogomolofF, and on January 6th, 1942, handed
him a Note drawing his attention yet once again to those many thousands
of Polish officers who could not be accounted for. The only answer
received from the Soviet authorities was " all Polish citizens have already
been released and no further details are available regarding those who
have not arrived at their destination." On May I9th, the Polish
Ambassador in the U.S.S.R. sent a memorandum to the People's Com-
missariat for Foreign Aifairs in which he expressed his regret at the
Soviets' refusal to provide lists of prisoners, his concern as to their fate,
and stressed the value which those officers would have had in war against
the Germans. On no occasion did the Polish Government or the Polish
Embassy in Kuibyshev ever receive an answer as to the whereabouts of
these officers and other prisoners deported from the three above mentioned
There were wild speculations in Russia and London as to the fate of
these men, some thought they had been deported a great distance, probably
Nova Zemlya where they had died, and it was also rumoured, that
thousands had been drowned in the Volga. There was another supposition
that they had been handed over to the Germans, but this did not seem
feasible, since in that case some news at least would have come out
through the medium of the Red Cross or letters would have arrived
giving some indication as to where they had been taken, as had been the
case with Polish officers in the concentration camps in Rumania when that
country had been over-run by the Germans.
One high official of the N.K.V.D., in his cups had said in confidence to a
Pole : " Don't ask about those peopleit has been a tragic mistake and
no one can help themnow! "* Many Russian officials discussed the
problem with the Poles generally, and vouchsafed the opinion that they
'   * Polska  Walczqca,  London,  1943.